1.0 Fairy Rings: Mycoremediation

The Fairy Rings, a mycoremediation project at Newtown Creek purposes to transform the water of toxins in a sculptural form. In European folklore, it was believed that the gathering and dancing of fairies and elves created fairy rings, a circular discoloration or growth of mushrooms on a grass lawn. The belief transformed these spaces from reality into fantasy. Today, we now know fairy rings are a natural phenomenon created by fungi. In this project, oyster mushrooms are used for their ability to neutralize hydrocarbons present in petroleum products such as oil, pesticides, and herbicides and as a hyperacummulator to absorb heavy metals, common toxins found in urban environments. The sculptural form is an alliance between the material structure and nature. Nature participates through the ongoing process of sprouting mushrooms, mycelium decomposing and cleansing the water of toxins.

Mycoremediation, a term coined by Paul Stamets, is the use of fungi to degrade or remove toxins from theenvironment. Fungi are adept as molecular disassemblers, breaking down many recalcitrant, long-chained toxins into simpler, less toxic chemicals.


See the land version of The Fairy Rings 2.0>>


The oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, is known to have remediation qualities for the following:

Chemical Toxins:
Dimethyl methyl phosphonate (VX, Soman, Sarin)
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s)
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB’s)
Trinitrotoluene (TNT)
Heavy Metals:
Mercury (65-140X)

In collaboration with Newtown Creek Alliance and the North Brooklyn Boat Club.

Lab at GenSpace.

Process Photos

© Copyright Jan Mun